MLA wants Fe­bru­ary statu­tory hol­i­day in N.S.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY GREG MCNEIL

SYD­NEY — Any place but work is where many Cana­di­ans spent Mon­day. And the push is on for Nova Sco­tians to join them in the near fu­ture.

Mon­day was Fam­ily Day in Al­berta, On­tario and Saskatchewan. The hol­i­day is called Louis Riel Day in Man­i­toba and Is­lan­der Day in Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

Now Diana Whalen, the Lib­eral MLA for Hal­i­fax-Clay­ton Park, is lead­ing the lat­est charge for the third Mon­day of each Fe­bru­ary to also be­come a statu­tory hol­i­day in this prov­ince.

“It is now well over the ma­jor­ity of Cana­di­ans that have the day off and all the U.S. shut down for Pres­i­dent’s Day, so I think this is an idea whose time has come,” said Whalen in a phone in­ter­view from Hal­i­fax.

She said the pub­lic ob­vi­ously sup­ports the idea, but it hasn’t al­ways been backed by the busi­ness com­mu­nity be­cause of the cost.

How­ever, a long week­end in Fe­bru­ary sounds good to the pres­i­dent of the Syd­ney and Area Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“ We’ve talked about it be­fore as the item has been brought up over the years and there was al­ways sup­port for that,” said Joyce MacDougall.

“ Fe­bru­ary is not a ter­ri­bly busy month for busi­nesses usu­ally, and so it is a good time to see a hol­i­day. There’s been no op­po­si­tion what­so­ever, his­tor­i­cally, for that.”

In other prov­inces Whalen said a Fe­bru­ary long week­end has ac­tu­ally gen­er­ated busi­ness.

“Com­mu­nity events and fes­ti­vals spring up be­cause peo­ple will im­me­di­ately cre­ate some­thing around that long week­end.”

Mu­se­ums and other pub­lic places of­ten open, Whalen noted.

“It picks peo­ple up,” MacDougall added. “Peo­ple are in a bet­ter mood and you never know maybe on the Satur­day be­fore the hol­i­day peo­ple would get out and just feel bet­ter about do­ing a lit­tle shop­ping. Re­tail ther­apy is a good thing for the busi­ness com­mu­nity.”

Whalen has sug­gested Joseph Howe Day as a fit­ting name for the pro­posed hol­i­day to rec­og­nize the for­mer premier and cham­pion of free­dom of the press.

How­ever, she’s open to other names.

“I think that if it is a Nova Sco­tian hol­i­day we should make it a unique name and not just Fam­ily Day.”

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